We thank Mr Kuet Ee Yoon for his letter and his interest in the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) Long-Term Plan Review (Review development potential of Singapore’s limited sea space, Oct 27).
URA reviews its long-term plans to meet Singapore’s future needs, based on the impact and opportunities presented by future trends. This involves studying how we can better plan and optimise both our land and sea spaces to meet the needs in an uncertain future.
Public engagement is also an integral part of the process to understand and balance the economic, social and environmental interests of the city-state and people, and provide for a good quality living environment.
As with land, there are diverse and competing needs for the use of our sea space. There are also technical considerations involved, such as sea depth, sedimentation and water clarity, and hydrology.
Mr Kuet is right that most of the sea space within our port limits are today used by the maritime and port industry, which are important contributors to our economy. Nevertheless, we have been setting aside areas for other important uses and activities, including marine biodiversity conservation, aquaculture, industries, utilities and recreation.
Given our limited land-based resources, URA has also been working with agencies, industry and researchers to identify opportunities to optimise the use of our sea space such as through co-locating uses, matching appropriate uses to suitable sites, and harnessing technology. One example is the co-location of solar PVs (photovoltaic systems) with fish farms along the East Johor Strait.
Mr Kuet also suggested a review of sea space for aquaculture. Aquaculture is an important contributor to our “30 by 30” target – to build our agri-food industry’s capacity and capability to produce 30 per cent of our nutritional needs locally and sustainably by 2030. The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) plans to unlock the full potential of sea-based aquaculture through more productive, sustainable and climate-resilient management methods.
Over the next few years, new sea sites for aquaculture will be identified and tendered out on leases. Careful consideration is given in the identification of suitable sites. Some areas, such as the waters at Selat Sengkir, have existing uses required for the long term. There are currently sea spaces available for aquaculture, such as the Johor Strait off Pasir Ris.
It is important that we work towards 30 by 30 in a sustainable manner. SFA has been studying various aspects of aquaculture production and engaging farmers, with the aim of growing aquaculture production sustainably.
We will continue to work closely with farmers to improve and transform the aquaculture industry into one that is productive and sustainable. We welcome views from the public as we continue to further these efforts. Members of the public can sign up for URA’s ongoing Long-Term Plan Review discussions to share their ideas at go.gov.sg/ltprp2.
Group Director (Strategic Planning)
Urban Redevelopment Authority
Cheong Lai Peng
Senior Director (Industry Development & Community Partnership)
Singapore Food Agency